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Death is No Longer the End

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Two years ago, our family went through the unfortunate experience of burying my grandfather. After several years of battling ALS and going in and out of various rehab facilities, he lost his life right before Easter in 2011.
My parents got married and had my brother and I in their early 20’s, which meant my grandparents on both sides of the family were pretty young as well. In fact, even my great-grandfather (Caleb’s great-great grandfather) is in his late 80s and remains physically and mentally very sharp. With all of our family living in the Dallas area, we have remained close through the years as well. I’ve been fortunate to have so many family members in such close proximity and saying goodbye to one of them doesn’t come easily.

As difficult as it was to watch my grandmother and my mom mourn, the timing could not have been more powerful. The viewing was scheduled on Good Friday and the funeral on Saturday. As you would imagine, it made the celebration of Christ’s resurrection hit closer to home. I love Paul’s words to the Corinthians concerning death.

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(I Cor. 15:54-57)

Counseling someone through the death of a loved one is difficult. In those moments of deep loss, the go-to spiritual answers offer little comfort for many. Death is the ultimate consequence of our fall. It is the continual, gut-wrenching reminder of our depravity. But the beauty of Easter is that we aren’t celebrating Jesus’ death, rather we celebrate his resurrection.

It’s one thing if Jesus only died for our sins but he didn’t just bear the punishment, he overcame it! By rising from the grave, Jesus stripped away hell’s grasp and destroyed death’s ultimate sting. Today is Good Friday and it’s a great chance for us to reflect on our sins and remember what Christ did for us. But on Sunday, we celebrate the end of death’s grip on us. Christ was victorious over our sin and our death.

So if you’re mourning the death of a loved one, just remember that Christ destroyed the very thing causing you so much pain. If you’re dealing with guilt and shame, he paid for your failures and conquered the ultimate consequences of them. If you feel like some addiction or sinful habit is owning you and you’re losing hope, remember that his victory is also yours. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is now alive inside all of us who will accept his sacrifice and victory.

With that, let’s queue some theme music.

Posted in: Discipleship, The Cross

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